Ben Margot/Associated Press
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the team expects Kevin Durant to return if it advances to the Western Conference Finals.
“I think it’s good news. Calf strain…he’s had them before, and he’s responded well,” Kerr told reporters Thursday. “Obviously, we’re disappointed he won’t be able to play in this series. But if we’re able to win the series and move on, it looks good for his return in the not-too-distant future.”
Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Steve Kerr categorized the KD news as positive. If they advance, he can return in “not too distant future.” https://t.co/eLnuCx2FQg
Durant has been ruled out of Game 6 on Friday and a potential Game 7 on Sunday of the Warriors’ second-round series against the Houston Rockets after going down in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s 104-99 Golden State victory. The non-contact injury had some speculating that Durant had suffered an Achilles injury, but tests showed only a minor calf strain.
The Warriors said Thursday that Durant will be reevaluated in a week.
“During the timeout, we all looked at each other, and there were a couple of smiles in terms of like what that meant for us as a team and the guys that were going to need to step up in those moments,” Stephen Curry told reporters after Game 5. “Next-man-up mentality, Draymond (Green) said that at some point in that timeout.”
Durant has been the Warriors’ best and most consistent player throughout these playoffs, so Curry and Klay Thompson are going to have to shoulder the load against the Rockets. The Warriors are heavy underdogs for Friday night’s Game 6 but can take solace in the fact they outscored Houston after Durant’s injury Wednesday.
The most important factor here is Durant will be fine over the long term, which is good news for the Warriors and the NBA in general.